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I've got something in my Bucket

Bucket time is often one of the Wildlings' favourite times of our day. I am sure that our families will have heard about it, many have had to take part in their own sessions re-enacted by their children at home, and will have seen lots of photos of it on our daily posts, but you might not be completely sure about what it actually is.

Bucket time is designed to build on and extend children's attention span and concentration, developing their ability to be able to attend to an activity or object for extended periods of time. It is a social activity that develops early communication and promotes the ability to be able to share interest and enjoyment. While Bucket Time is part "The Attention Autism Programme" created by Gina Davies, at Wildlings we have found that it benefits all our children.

So, what does Bucket time involve? Each session begins with the lead adult singing the Bucket time song "I've got something in my bucket" to signalise that it is time to start. The children now recognise the song, often joining in as they rush to the carpet, ready to get going with the session. We use a 'now and next board' to show that now is Bucket Time and to show what will be next. The bucket contains lots of interesting, attention grabbing resources that may light up, spin round, jump, or in the case of our wind up robot, dance. A current favourite is our floating ball, which lights up and spins as it floats over our heads.

As an item is introduced, simple key language is used to describe the item and it's actions. Adults model enthusiastic engagement and focussed attention, while encouraging sitting and watching. We use social language to introduce each item, saying "hello" to it and "bye-bye" when we put it away. In order to keep bucket time items "special" the children do not have access to them at other times and during sessions only the adult leading the activity touches the items as they are not for playing with, but for paying attention to.

As children become more used to engaging in Bucket Time, we begin to extend the focussed adult led time, by introducing an "Attention Builder" as the "next" activity on our now and next board. These activities are fun, visually engaging and can often be a little messy. They could be flour shaking, paint splatting, foam squirting, glitter and glue shapes, magic milk or lava jars. Again, for "Attention Builder" activities, the adult leading the session does the activity, and the children engage with focussed attention on what is happening.

Bucket Time is fun, engaging and helps all our children to develop social, communication and shared attention skills.

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